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Welcome to I tried this monthwhere we find a new fashion, beauty or Wellness Every day in January, an article telling firsthand how to shake up an old habit, step out of a comfort zone, or just try something new. Follow storytelling for 31 days, from 40 days without a cell phone to the polarizing trend of low-top pants.
In March 2020, when we thought the quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19 would only take a few weeks, it was relatively easy to go from commuting to the Who What Wear offices in Manhattan to work from home in my apartment every day in Brooklyn. While I was busily changing my uniform Skinny jeans and boots With leggings and oversized sweaters, much of my WFH routine stayed the same. However, as I thought about the myriad of challenges and adjustments we had faced over the past year, I realized that I had accidentally made a change that I was unhappy with: I completely stopped wearing jewelry.
As one of the more casual dressers in Who What Wear's office, I expressed my personal style by changing my jewelry every morning. Whether I traded my dainty diamond studs for Chan Luu pearl huggies or layered a few different necklaces or bracelets every day, I found it both easy and fulfilling to experiment with my looks through simple accessories. And although I've always firmly believed that you don't need a “special occasion” to wear your favorite piece, it became clear that my WFH routine was no longer shiny.
With that in mind, I decided to revisit my everyday jewelry (plus a few sentimental pieces) the week between Christmas and New Years. Since buying new items or borrowing family members was out of the question this year, I enlisted the help of Kendra Pariseault, an incredible jewelry designer and personal friend, for some tips and tricks on how to get jewelry back into my everyday clothes. Read on for advice on how to rediscover hidden gems in your jewelry box, give old items a second life, and choose meaningful pieces that can be worn for years.
While going through my old jewelry boxes, I rediscovered some pieces that hadn't seen the light of day for years. While some timeless classics were easily reintroduced into my current rotation of accessories, others were obviously out of date, damaged, or both. Fortunately, Pariseault reminded me that diamonds (and other gemstones) never go out of style.
In fact, she strongly recommended that I take apart some old jewelry and use the pieces to design something new that I would love to wear today. "I have customers who combine lots of pieces from their mothers, grandmothers, in-laws, and maybe even some pieces that haven't been worn since high school. It's a fun way to reuse jewelry of sentimental value." Of course, it's important to keep in mind that resetting parts can be quite expensive. Although you may already own the stones, significant labor and design goes into making something new. However, Pariseault also shared a smart pro tip: you can always scrape the metal off the original jewelry and get credit for your metal, which will reduce costs. Gold prices are high right now so this is a good time to scrap!
Of course, some of the older pieces I found showed signs of age, including tarnished metal, blunt stones, or in some cases a broken clasp or pin. Instead of letting those sentimental pieces do the talking, I decided it was worth using a jewelry cleaner or taking a loved one to a jewelry store for repair.
Again, Pariseault came through with some helpful suggestions. "For regular maintenance, especially engagement rings and wedding rings with diamonds and gemstones, I recommend a household dish soap (anything that is supposed to be degreased) and a bowl of water. Just dip the piece in soap and gently clean it with a very soft, like-like towel Bamboo washcloth. "Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
For those of us devoted to the DIY route, Pariseault has taken some precautions: Don't try to clean jewelry over the sink – it's too easy for something to fall down the drain. Never use an ultrasonic home cleaner as this can cause your prongs to loosen.
If you want steam cleaning, take a piece to your jeweler about every six months. The jeweler will inspect the prongs after cleaning and tighten them so your piece doesn't sparkle and to back up.
After digging up and cleaning the jewelry I already had, my biggest challenge was remembering to wear something every day. Since WFH had changed my morning routine significantly, I no longer had accessories on my list of things to do (or put makeup on, but that's another story) which meant I was no longer in the habit of jewelry to wear.
I don't like showering or sleeping in jewelry. Sometime in March when my earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings came off, I just never put them on again. It was a little more difficult to wear different jewelry every day as it was about creating a new habit during the quarantine that corresponds to our new normal. While I fully trust Pariseault when she says it's okay to wear certain pieces around the clock, for me it was just a convenience factor – I just can't sleep in earrings.
With that in mind, Pariseault recommends that I start with a few necklaces with simple chains and pendants 15 to 20 inches in length. "The key to wearing multiple necklaces is with chains of different thicknesses and styles. This prevents them from becoming too tangled," she explains. She also suggested putting on some simple bracelets so I wouldn't have to worry about swapping them out. "I like bracelets soldered to my wrist because they fit very tight and stay in place," she explains. "I can't stand bracelets that move a lot."
As for the earrings, I decided to try something called habit building. Despite the challenges of WFH, much of my morning routine was intact – just not the part I got dressed and commuted to the office for. So I set out to trick my mind by adding "earrings" to my routine between putting on my contacts and styling my hair. Since I only have one piercing in each ear, I switch between sculptural diamond studs, oversized pearls, and trendy huggies.
There are two main thoughts when it comes to organizing and storing your jewelry. In the Instagram era, we often like to see our favorite pieces on a vanity, in different holders or in a traditional jewelry box. For more valuable pieces that need to be kept safe, Pariseault recommends something sturdier. "When you start collecting fine jewelry, invest in a home safe," she says, noting that it is worth the rest.
For less valuable items that are worn regularly, it is important to keep them organized and tangle-free. This can easily be achieved with inexpensive storage compartments or showcases.
After evaluating, cleaning, organizing, and re-wearing items from my existing jewelry collection, I was ready for the best: buying new pieces.
With my speed dial expert, I reached out to Pariseault again for her professional recommendations and to guide my future purchases. As a jeweler by trade, her first suggestion was of course to spend some time working on something original. “I think there is a misconception that custom jewelry is more expensive than jewelry from luxury retailers. It can often be cheaper for metal and stone of the same quality, with the added benefit of having worked to make something useful for you . " "She explained.
While I wasn't prepared for anything special, it was good to know that many independent jewelers not only enjoy working one-on-one with customers, but can also come up with solutions that are both budget-friendly and sentimental.
With my focus on something "out of the box," Pariseault directed me to invest in a few staples, including a good quality pair of diamond studs, a great everyday ring that can be mixed and matched with others, and a simple chain necklace that wasn't too precious to wear and sleep in the shower.
Since I had already covered the diamond rivets (thanks, mom and dad), I focused on browsing through necklaces and rings that would look great both individually and together. Given my budget, my personal style, and my expert jewelry advice, I came across some pieces by designer Suzanne Kalan that I discovered at Net-a-Porter. To be honest, I bookmarked one of these pieces to commemorate an upcoming milestone. Although I don't have it in my hand yet, I'm really looking forward to adding it to my collection soon.
Next up: Fashion girls say yes to these 7 important jewelry trends